Food & Beverage

AB InBev/SABMiller: Hangover for drinks industry?

Why AB Inbev really wants SABMiller
Why AB Inbev really wants SABMiller

There are still plenty of if's, when's and how much's surrounding the "Megabrew" -- the industry nickname for Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev's offer for South Africa's SABMiller – but that hasn't stopped industry players trying extremely hard to work out what the ramifications of the deal could be for the entire sector.

Here CNBC takes a look at some of the companies which are likely to be pulled into the mega-deal's orbit.

MillerCoors move

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SABMiller's joint venture with Molson Coors would be top of the list for sale if the mega-merger went ahead, according to a host of analysts. Unless it is sold off, a merged ABInBev/SABMiller would control close to 70 percent of the U.S. beer market, according to Mintel – which is unlikely to make it past U.S. competition authorities.

"I would be very surprised if the U.S. authorities allowed this without the split of MillerCoors," Jonny Forsyth, global drinks analyst at Mintel, told CNBC.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola in a fizz?

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There are close links between SABMiller and Coca-Cola on one hand, and AB InBev and Pepsi on the other, as the brewers have deals with the soft drinks makers in a number of territories. Would either of great rivals Coke and Pepsi feel threatened by joint ventures with the same company?

"In reality, there is ample precedent for partners bottling for both Coke and Pepsi in different geographies where strategic rationale merits," analysts at UBS pointed out in a research note Thursday.

Poison pills?

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV agreed to pay $5.8 billion for South Koreas Oriental Brewery, regaining control of a company that became the Asian nations biggest brewer under KKR & Co. and Affinity Equity Partners Ltd.
AB InBev courting SABMiller to form $270B drinks giant

SABMiller's unsuccessful bid for Dutch family-controlled brewer Heineken last year now looks like a tactical attempt to make itself less digestible for ABInBev if it came calling. There are other potential targets out there for SABMiller if it still has the appetite for this approach – such as France's Castel or Turkey's Efes.

China selloff

CR Snow, SABMiller's joint venture which is China's largest brewer, is another business over which competition question marks hang in the event of a merger. Analysts are divided on whether SABMiller's stake would have to be offloaded, as ultimately that depends on the Chinese government.

African questions

SABMiller's African strength may be one of the main reasons driving ABInBev's interest, but it also means "governments from Angola to Zimbabwe will have a say," as Deutsche Bank analysts pointed out in a research note Thursday.

SABMiller is one of South Africa's real business success stories and the government there may want pledges on its continued presence and investment in the country.